Having got out of doing the extremely hilly League race at Hermitage by being in another country, I allowed myself to be talked in to entering the 2nd Badgers Atherstone 10k Road Race by Mr Jason Barton. As this was my first race over 5k for quite some time, I started scrawling through my old race times to come up with what I think I should achieve over a nice quick 10k course.
HOWEVER, the bullet that I dodged at Hermitage came back with a vengeance at Atherstone! The course has a lovely downhill/flat finish that takes up the last 2 miles, although the first 4 contains 20 metres MORE ascent than the ENTIRE course at Hermitage!!! Any dreams of quick times went out of the window, and were replaced with hopes of respectable times, followed by prayers of finishing!!!
Throughout the race, Jay was battling with Che Compton of Kent AC for the lead, with Jay gaining an advantage on the inclines and then immediately losing it on the descents. The long straight and flat finish through Atherstone town centre allowed for a true head-to-head battle. With half a mile to go, Jay was slightly ahead and managed to hold off his adversary to finish 10 seconds clear, and win the race.
Humble as ever, Jay stood around the finish area cheering people in and chatting with fellow runners, asking how they got on, but at no point disclosing that he had won the race in a course record time of 35.51.
Way back in the field of 367 runners, I too was having my own battles and winning them to eventually finish 42nd overall in a relatively satisfactory time of 44.29.
The church by the finish line were doing cups of tea/coffee for 50p and FREE CAKE!! Whilst inside, I happened to let slip to one elderly lady manning the tea stall that my accomplice was the overall race winner and we were then subjected to a 15 minute wave of praise as Jay was given a full hero’s welcome! He was asked about the course, asked about the club (which we advertised whole-heartedly), and was even asked for kisses by one of the old ladies present while introducing him to her daughter who had also ran.
During the presentation there was mass exasperation when Jay’s time was read out as 31.19 with everyone expecting some Kenyan to step forward to claim the £50 cash, £15 gift vouchers, and trophy (for some reason his time had BOTH been written down wrong AND then read out wrongly too).
The race pack at the end was brilliant with a technical tee, heavy medal, snacks, drinks, and L’Oreal for Men sample pots and Moisturiser testers. Not bad for the £14 it cost to enter. A very well organised race that has a testing course, but I will be returning to next year and would recommend it to anyone. [Shane]